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Gibraltar to get September triple-header underway away at Latvia

Gibraltar get their latest international triple-header underway tomorrow when they take on Latvia at the Daugava Stadium in Riga.

Photo © Rough & Ready

Julio Ribas’ side travelled to Latvia on the weekend, with Wednesday’s match the first of a tough triple-header that also includes a home tie against Turkey on Saturday, followed by a trip to Norway the following Tuesday. Notable absentees from the squad for tomorrow were Liam Walker and Lee Casciaro, both of whom featured on Thursday in Lincoln’s win over Riga FC, but the pair may join the squad later in this international break, with their game time potentially being managed carefully after a long summer at club level.

One player that joined the team though was Tjay De Barr, with the Wycombe attacker, who came off the bench in their league defeat to Sunderland on Saturday afternoon, making the trip to Latvia separate from the rest of the team, to ensure he could keep his club commitments. There was also a first ever call up for Lions’ youngster Richard Felipes, while Jayce Olivero returns to the squad after injury, and Joseph Chipolina makes the squad for the first time since a long-term injury he picked up in December 2019.

With a 27-man squad being taken to Riga, and only 23 being able to be named in the matchday squad, Ribas has given himself flexibility in who he chooses for his squad, including in the goalkeeping department, where Bradley Banda, Dayle Coleing, Kyle Goldwin and Jamie Robba will have to compete for the three available goalkeeping spots, as well as the starting position in goal.

For the hosts, Latvia manager Dainis Kazakevics has also named a 27-man squad for their three internationals this month, including five players from the Riga squad who took on Lincoln in the UEFA Europa Confererence League Playoffs this month. The majority of their squad are based in Latvia, but defender Raivis Jurkovskis did join Irish side Dundalk in January of this year, while striker Vladislavs Gutkovskis grabbed 12 goals in 35 games for Polish side Rakow and also scored the winner in their Conference League 3rd qualifying tie against Rubin Kazan.

Like Gib, Latvia were in League D of the Nations League last time out, but they finished third behind the Faroe Islands and Malta, picking up one win, four draws and a defeat in the process. They have, however, picked up an impressive 3-3 draw away at Turkey in this qualifying group, and therefore sit one point and one position above Gibraltar in the qualifying group.

One thing to note about this game is potential suspensions, with Gibraltar having eight players just one yellow away from missing Saturday’s tie with Turkey – they are Louie Annesley, Erin Barnett, Tjay De Barr, Kyle Goldwin, Aymen Mouelhi, Alain Pons, Kian Ronan and Reece Styche.

Betting*:

The hosts come into this one as odds on favourites, with the best price you can get on Latvia currently 2/7 at the time of writing. The last time the two sides met, Gib won 1-0 in a friendly at the Victoria Stadium, and a repeat of that scoreline is best price 33/1. Gibraltar to win the match outright is a best price of 15/1, while Both Teams To Score is 39/20.

In the goalscorer market, the aforementioned Gutkovskis is 13/10 to score in 90 minutes for the hosts, while for Gib, Reece Styche, who scored vs Montenegro and may be on penalty duty if Joseph Chipolina doesn’t start, is 5/1 anytime scorer. Tjay De Barr is 11/2 to repeat his goalscoring heroics from Wycombe’s EFL Cup game vs Stevenage last week, while if you’re looking for an aerial threat who has shown he can score big goals, Roy Chipolina is a tempting 50/1 to add to his two goals at international level.

* All prices correct as of 12:13 CEST 31st August 2021, and prices may fluctuate. Please gamble responsibly. 18+ www.begambleaware.org

Match Officials:

The appointed match officials for the game are from Czechia, with referee Pavel Orel a 32-year-old who has officiated in the Europa Conference League this season – he took charge of Lincoln Red Imps’s 1-1 draw with AEK Larnaca in Faro in the 2017/18 Europa League Qualifying, while he even was appointed referee for three matches in the Chinese Super League back in November 2018.

Predicted Lineups:

Latvia – Steinbors; Fjodorovs, Cernomordijs, Oss, Jurkovskis; Tobers, Emsis; Jaunzems, Ikaunieks, Ciganiks; Gutkovskis

Gibraltar – Coleing; Sergeant, Wiseman, R. Chipolina, Olivero; Annesley; Valarino, Torrilla, Ronan, Pons; De Barr

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2016/17 Premier Division Preview

Ahead of the start of the 2016/17 Gibraltar Premier Division tonight, Football Gibraltar takes a look at all 10 teams and attempts to predict where they will finish come the end of the season Continue reading

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Gibraltar Premier Division: Familiarity & intrigue in season 2015-16

Ahead of a new campaign, echoes from the one just past continue to be heard.

By what distance will Lincoln Red Imps leave the rest of the teams behind in the league? Can Europa mount a sustained and convincing title challenge? And who amongst the rest will be discarded as also-rans?

Yet the fortunes of Europa, Manchester and Lynx provide an interesting diversion. The Premier plays out to familiar themes, but intrigue can still be found lurking in its midst.


Europa seek to close gap

The expectation is of Lincoln Red Imps confirming, again, that no team can bridge the gap to their greater resources, and it is in Europe that the champions will be exposed to more gruelling challenges.

Under David Carrasco, Europa have become reliably strong, assertive and consistent.

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Can Europa get closer to Lincoln this season?

The signing of Juan Jose Bezares Alacon and Pedrio Carrion brings plenty of experience. Europa also brought in plenty of youth to balance out the squad such as Javi Martinez, Joselinho & striker Antonio Truji all suggest the team could yet be more effective this campaign.

The players ought to be hardened to the mental challenges that come with their prominence.

Europa had a good record against all the top-flight teams other than Lincoln last season, but the squad should be better prepared for the expectation level that comes with being the team best equipped to at least pressurise the reigning champions.


Re-building at Lynx

At Lynx FC, the fascination is with the constant process of rejuvenation. Can a team shorn of its three best players – Raducio King, Mohammed Magdy and Rafa Bado, all of whom joined different clubs – find the means to recover?

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We expect Albert Parody to bring out a new squad this weekend the funds the clubs have not an issue.

Flaws need to be managed, too, since Aaron Akrapovic joins the club from Europa FC and at 21 the midfielder needs to show he has the character and spirit to accompany decent technique and speed.


Manchester back with a bang?

The challenge for Manchester 62 is to maintain their progress, after such a poor performance last season despite finishing second in the year before that.

The recruitment strategy has been agreed, since the new signings are all arguably better than those they have or will replace in the side, with only Shaun De Los Santos from Lions Gibraltar FC being captured for his potential.

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Manchester 62 were also expected to sign ex-Lincoln goalkeeper Dayle Coleing but the deal fell through as Dayle will be moving to university. 


Battle at the bottom

More grimly, the wonder is which established sides will find themselves in a battle for survival? Finances remain tight across the division and many of the teams have had to struggle just to try to maintain their squads.

Even so, it is possible to assume improvements at most apart from Angels FC and Glacis Utd.

The tendency is for teams at the top and at the bottom to be cut adrift from the rest as the season unfolds, and to that end this campaign is likely to have a familiar feel to it.